TaylorMade has had the “#1 driver on tour” for some 190 consecutive weeks now. The r7 series with the 4 movable weights has been one of the biggest equipment stories in the past several years.
Enter the new r5 Dual TP Driver. The r5 TP is the latest movable weight driver offering from TM. Rather than the 4 weights the r7 employs, the r5 TP uses two located in the back of the club.
As discussed in this post, the weighting system is called the “TaylorMade Launch Control” (TLC). With the TLC, changing the configuration of the weights manipulates the launch and flight of the ball. Heavier weight on the inside of the club provides draw enhancement, heavier toe weight enhances a fade. You can also set the weights to neutral, presumably to be able to work it easier in either direction.
What does “TP” mean? As I discussed in my r7 TP 3 wood review, “Tour Preferred” is the setting the professional tour players typically use. The shaft tip size and torque, along with virtually no offset is how they like it.
The head is what TM and I call “substantial.” It is big. 450cc’s of big to be exact. The club’s deep face promotes a high launch angle and lower spin for more distance and forgiveness.
The standard shaft is the Mitsubishi Diamana 83, but you can custom order either the Fujikura Speeder 757 or Six shafts as well. Available flexes: X, S, R.
The grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
The setup I tested was the 9.5 degree model with an S flex Mitsubishi shaft. I’ve been hitting an 8.5 degree driver for a while and wondered how much of a difference I’d see with that extra degree.
The r5′s stock setup was in the draw enhancing mode (14 gram weight on the inside, 2 gram on the toe). I’m either a straight ball or slight draw player so I was anxious to see what flight I’d have. Being that I already draw, my shots turned into either hard draws or pulls. I found the left rough a few too many times with the draw setting.
I decided I’d go with fade enhancing next (2 gram inside weight, 14 gram toe weight). I figured my ball would fly perfectly straight since I draw it and the club wanted to fade. Moving to the fade mode did stop those hard draws and pulls. I found that I could work it either way fairly easily with fade mode setup.
Not wanting to leave out all the possible setups, I put the r5 in neutral mode. Neutral means even weight on both sides, so I took out the 14 and 2 gram weights and put in two 8 gram weights in their place. Neutral mode was the best for me. I found the launch angle to be a nice mid-high angle. I was able to easily work the ball in either direction and I was able to launch it low or high when I wanted to.
What I like
The r5 Dual TP is very forgiving and extremely easy to hit. The nice weighting and look of the club seemed to promote me to put a good swing on it. My driving accuracy percentage went up big time playing the r5 Dual TP. I could easily shape shots to fit the dogleg of the current hole.
Those times when I didn’t put a great swing on it (and there were plenty), the r5 helped me out. Toe shots would nearly always correct themselves with a slight draw. Shots too far inside the club face started out left but cut right back online.
The head cover has to be the coolest head cover I’ve ever seen. The head cover looks like a serpent or snake’s head and neck. My kids have a name for it: “Serpo-head.” Serpo-head’s neck isn’t your typical stretchable cloth neck. It is split down the middle and has rows of magnets on each side. You can just peel the neck wide open and put the club in. The magnets automatically close the neck back up. Very cool.
What I don’t like
My only gripe about the r5 Dual TP is distance, or lack thereof. Shots that I’d hit with other drivers would easily be 10-20 yards longer than with the this club. TM’s site shows that this club is best with swing speeds in the 105-115 range. Perhaps my swing speed isn’t quite fast enough to take full advantage of TM’s design.
Though the r5 Dual TP is set up the way PGA Tour pro’s like Sergio Garcia and Mike Weir want, you don’t have to be a PGA Tour pro to hit great shots with it. The ball flight is nice and high and the workability is as easy as any driver I’ve played.